Blok backs visas for Venezuelans | THE DAILY HERALD

Meeting in Aruba.

WILLEMSTAD/ORANJESTAD–Dutch Minister of Foreign Affairs Stef Blok backs a visa arrangement with Venezuela. He spoke about this with Aruban Prime Minister Evelyn Wever-Croes on Monday and expressed his support in Tuesday’s kingdom consultations, it was stated at a subsequent press conference in Curaçao.

  The meeting regards an annual gathering of the prime ministers of Aruba, Curaçao and St. Maarten with the foreign minister of the Netherlands. Topics discussed during the encounter that took place virtually while Blok was in Aruba included the recent elections in the United States, the relationship with Venezuela, security, and a Dutch Caribbean visa policy.


Press conference in Curaçao.

The four countries agree that if the COVID-19 pandemic permits, the border with Venezuela should be reopened soon. At the beginning of next year, Blok wants to introduce a visa regulation for the neighbouring South American nation.

  He acknowledged that the relationship with Venezuela is “incredibly important” and emphasised the role of the kingdom embassy in this. Talks are currently underway with authorities in Caracas and will continue in December.

  Blok was clear about the political situation in Venezuela. “If human rights and democracy are not respected and they really go too far, sanctions can be imposed.”

  He did not want to comment on the opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez, who fled the country recently. When asked what part the Netherlands played in this matter, Blok said he had “no comment.” Unconfirmed reports say the trip went to Colombia via Aruba and then on to Spain, but the Dutch government’s role remains unclear.

  Blok also stressed the importance of the islands tapping into other sources of income than just tourism. Embassies can play a role in attracting new markets.

  During the press conference, Curaçao Prime Minister Eugene Rhuggenaath thanked the Netherlands for its assistance in obtaining licences in the US for the local Isla refinery in relation to American sanctions against former operator “Petroleos de Venezuela” PDVSA. He too emphasised the importance for Curaçao to have talks with Caracas.

  Rhuggenaath announced that he would no longer travel with Blok to Suriname as planned for the celebration of its 45 years of political independence. Rhuggenaath said he wanted to stay home due to current developments in connection with the ongoing coronavirus-related crisis.

Source: The Daily Herald